Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Club - Farmyards Run

A new run for Millies tonight, our first run since the clocks changed and we stretched the boundaries a bit. Jimmy suggested we run over the Carman moor to Cardross and back over the Stonymollan Rd which was a good idea but he wanted to run a good bit on road and I suggested I lead them on a route that I had finally worked out after failing to connect some trails previously, resulting in electrocution (twice) and a fright from a bull. A long story previously related about July last year!
A fair pack left the club and ran along to Renton and turned up the Cardross Rd and along Upper Carman Rd, where the footpath led us round the back of the reservoir and over the moor road picking up the quarry road that leads to the trig point. However we turned left through a farm gate and after following the farm road past three farms and fording the burn, that led us to the west side of Cardross Golf Club and through the top of the village, although some managed to deduce a shortcut. Up Darleith Rd and left along a private road, much used by walkers and horseriders, through Drumhead and linking onto the Red Road. A sharp right immediately took us onto a particularily steep road where Steph and young Peter took off leaving us older guys to plod on to the best of our ability.By this time everyone knew where the road led! Straight uphill, through the final farmyard at Blackthird Farm, over the Stonymollan Road, where most of the pack saw for the first time the extent of the tree harvesting, and back down the hill into Balloch. Those of you who know the A82 will have passed the steep hill off the big roundabout at Balloch,the one with the crazy geese "artwork". That was where we re-appeared, although some would have continued down the footpath to Old Luss Road. Steph had decided to finish the run by following the A82 on the footpath on the town side of the carraigeway and finishing by taking a path into Christie Park and running along Middleton St to finish. A tiny bit short of 12 miles by G-Map the link to the route here. Just short of 2 hours and a well deserved shower to follow.
Thursday night is the club's first hill race, over the Stonymollan 5 miles and 1060 feet of climbing, a veritable sprint. Don't know if I can run it as I'm tied up during the day with my wife's car and may be pushed to get to the club in time. If I'm late I'll maybe climb the hill from Cardross and take a few pics for the website, the views from the top are spectacular.
My new trail shoes came today but they're still pristine as I wore my poor old road shoes tonight, and they are headed for a bath for the third time in a week. Tonight's run was pretty muddy in places, but generally firm. The worst bit being Jimmy's part of the route!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

WHW Inverarnan to Inversnaid and Return

After Tuesday's run I only ran on Wednesday, 5 miles steady round the Balloch and Lomond Shores before doing some reps and Fartlek with my JogScotland group for a total of about 9 miles. I didn't feel too good on Thursday and missed the club,although I didn't fancy reps prior to the weekend, and Friday was always going to be a day off as I intended joining the Glee Club for their long run on Saturday. On Friday night though my son who is diabetic had a bit of a virus/sickness and after failing to keep down his tea, fell asleep on the couch before I realised some time later that he was no longer with us, having slipped into hypoglycemia. I tried for about half an hour to bring him out of it, but wasn't having any success, so woke my wife, who had gone to bed early, as AJ often responds to her voice rather than mine when in a hypo. I often aggravate him when he's in that state (not on purpose, he just reacts that way)and so it proved as his mother's voice helped him accept the sugary foods and drinks we were trying to feed him and he came back out of it. Traumatic, and the worst he's been for a long, long time and indeed probably the worst I've experienced. As opposed to his mum who has had a few crackers when I'm not there! So we'll be looking for a hospital appointment for this week to sort his regime out. He's been like this ever since the doc put him on 4 injections a day. Something has to change.
We had a sleepless night as a result and in the morning I got up to go to Tyndrum and as I got dressed came across two blister, filled with blood, on both my feet. The skin was hard but I had no way of covering them and didn't want to run about 36 miles with feet like that. Back to bed and into the chemist later that day for some blister plasters. And of course on cutting back the skin, found they had been about so long that they had heeled inside and were no longer a problem! They'd probably been there since Sunday's 1/2 marathon, but I hadn't felt a thing. As good a warning as any to inspect my feet more regularly.
So plan B. I had made a decision not to run with John's group due to the travel involved, so decided to go to Inverarnan and do an out and back down the lochside. I hadn't had a good run on the very first training group run back in November and I still haven't run the stretch from Rowardennan to Inversnaid, so decided to see how I ran and play it by ear (or more exactly by legs) as to what I did. I set off a bit later than I'd planned. The clock going forward had been correctly adjusted but left me a bit tired and cuddled in again after the alarm went off. However the third (or was it the fourth snooze option) got me ejected and I finally hit the trail about 9.25. Initially a good run with snacks taken regularly enough, and the Ambrosia rice after about an hour definitely had an effect and is in the nutrition plan from here on in! I met JR and a good sized group of his ladies just north of Inversnaid and decided then to turn at the hotel and catch up for some company. As I caught them they had met up with Graham who had followed me down the loch after dropping some of the group at Rowardennan. He and I ran together for a while before hunger took over and I stopped for a bite to eat. I can't believe how quick energy gets eaten up on the trail and will have to gen up a lot more on that! Graham got away but his company had given my speed such a boost I decided to call it a day at Beinn Glas. Just over 3 and a 1/2 hours including breaks. Not too many miles but I hope to put a few in this week when my new shoes arrive. I was in road shoes as my Salomons are definitely not my favourite shoes and may now become, months after Debs warned me, "kicking about shoes". They look pretty good with jeans but are too loose around the foot for my problematic gait. Likewise my Inov 8 shoes are fine for x country or short trail runs locally, but lack cushioning for longer stuff.
SO. My good and generous wife was ordering my son and heir a new pair of trainers last night and I struck like lightening to order a pair of Mizuno Wave Harriers. Why? I love Mizuno's fit for my road shoes. I must have had about 10 pairs of various versions of the Rider, and I rarely get a good fit on Asics so the Trabuco would have required a bit of a chance, and anyway I love the YELLOW colour!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Club Run - Arden Roundabout

After a day off yesterday when I visited my old mum with a belated Mother's Day card and pressie (well I was racing on Sunday!)and got a bit of exercise walking about the shops in Irvine looking for her. What a depressing place it is these days.
It was a pack of 10 tonight, for the 8 miles out and back run, shorter than normal as the club AGM was held afterwards. Young Peter came back and after about a mile he just ran away from us. Our first mile is usually pretty slow then everyone sets into a suitable pace, so I ran with Brian and Garry out to the roundabout, reaching it in 33 and a 1/2 minutes. Turned and ran back chasing Steph until I reached the Cameron Hill where my legs told me I'd had enough, so I slowed down having put in about 5 miles of a decent tempo. Brian felt the same as he had had a long run on Sunday. We caught JR's group about MacD's in Balloch and most of us had a comfy wee amble back to the club with them, surprisingly taking 2 minutes off the outward journey, coming back in 31.20. Shower and a bit of chocolate to replace the calories then into the AGM which was a quick meeting in comparison to some I've attended. We were losing our Chair, Secretary and Treasurer tonight so I came home as secretary. JR is Chair and Pat Treasurer. That should guarantee some fun at meetings! I had a word with club speed merchant Stevie Cowper about coming to training nights. Normally he has an easy run with us but if Peter keeps running he could help keep him company. Otherwise all we'll see is his heels.
Looking forward to June, the more sociable members of the WHW race family have organised a pissup for the Sunday night following the race. What I can't understand is that they've booked an upstairs room. From what I saw at last years presentation, most of them had difficulty negotiating a flat floor, never mind a flight of stairs!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Alloa Half Marathon March 22nd 2009

OK. How does it happen? You race regularly, pushing hard to achieve your best time and hoping that each time you do, a PB is at the end of it. You can pick your course,decide whether the weather will be appropriate to the challenge, knock your pan in and..... zilch.
Today was my first time at Alloa. I entered mainly because I was too late to enter the Balloch to Clydebank, although I'd always hankered after a run in what is a superbly organised race. I also wanted to get a race in as I hadn't raced this year. Dire warnings from JR about treating it as a training run rang in my ears. Just have a good run. No heroics and enjoy it as a bit of speedwork. After all, goals 1 and 2 for 2009 relate to races of 53 and 95 miles.
Alloa is "undulating". The weather is windy, especially for the 4 miles along the road from Tillicoultry to Alva and beyond. There's a stinker of a climb at 11 miles followed by another about a mile later that does your legs.And you have no real speed in your legs after a winter of mileage far higher than you've ever done before.
So. I start slowly, heading wee Pat Burns for about 50 yards only because I skipped onto the pavement to get round some slower runners, but stayed ahead for only about 50 yards before letting him go off into the distance. NO. I'm not racing. I stopped for a pee at two and a half miles, losing about 150 yards on a Central AC runner who was matching strides with me. I was enjoying the race and the relaxed pace. Then I got into a wee group who kept changing places along the road. A guy from Giffnock North, a girl in a red vest, and an older runner whose stride rate was twice as fast as anyone else's. We kept overtaking each other and soon I started passing runners, including Central AC, that had been ahead pre-pee and then overtook two of our local ladies who were probably having an off day as I never can beat them. Then an Irvine vested guy who ran away from me at Grangemouth a few years ago and whom I'd never got close to again. Although mile splits had more ups and downs than an RBS balance sheet, each variation could be put down to either the hills or the headwind but suddenly I realised that instead of the wheels coming off at 9 miles as usual, this muppet was actually heading for a good time, certainly faster than I'd imagined possible. Hitting the hill at 11 miles, or rather at 10 and a 1/2 miles (ending at 11) I'd dropped the Giffnock guy and the girl. I was really delighted when the older guy asked the crowd at the top of the hill(a good crowd too, obviously aware of where and what was required support wise)for a big cheer for the over 60! As we hit the flat and then downhill he asked me if that was the last hill. I replied, "Surely to goodness it is" but no, there was another smaller but for some reason harder hill to go. Then it was all downhill and into the finishing straight and some support from Elaine, Jim and Pat from Milburn as I kicked past the old fella, stopping my watch at.... 1.41.05? (Chip time at 1.41.03) Can't be. It is! A P-pigging-B! by 43 seconds. With a pit stop. On that course. In that wind. Go figure! Handshakes with those around me, especially the girl in the red vest whose main target was 1.44 required to qualify for a guaranteed spot in a marathon (Edinburgh?). She did that OK, and some.
As I walked along for my t shirt and goody bag I met Pacepusher, waiting on Mrs Pacepusher finishing. He didn't get a PB;-). I looked for them after getting changed but couldn't see them so don't know how Caroline got on. Early results were already posted on the control caravan and I arrived home to a text confirming my time and place of 339th of 972 finishers. Not quite top 3rd. But ticking off part of one of my goals; to achieve 3 PBs this year.
Than I made the first bad move of the day, electing to drive home via the motorway to Stirling. Roadworks at the point where the Motorway from the new Clackmannan Bridge meets the M9 at Stirling. 4 lanes into one, a nightmare.

I'll sleep soundly tonight!

Saturday, 21 March 2009

When Firefighters were Firemen

Reading the Subversive Runners latest post I was stunned to see the references to less than manly attributes. I found this some time ago and if I'm to be honest, I've been waiting for an appropriate moment to post it with a smart-arsed comment about his musical taste. But this is as good a time as ever there will be.
Watch it here

Friday, 20 March 2009

A Younger "Old Face"

On Wednesday afternoon I nipped out for a half hour run, mainly off road with a lap of a field beyond the sawmill that was runnable due to the arrival of spring drying out the ground. In the evening one hour 15 with the ladies (and one gent) in my JogScotland group. Despite the twilight we managed to get out of the streetlights and managed about 7 miles, visiting Cameron House where a bevvy of young ladies, dressed to the nines, were walking between the hotel and the marina. As we ran past them, Colin and I drooling at the mouth, the ladies in the group managed only a remark about the heels the younger ladies were wearing and how impossible it would be to walk in them. Pleased to see two of the women tackling the hill round past the lodges, but out of the goodness of my heart I kept the main group on the perimeter road, only to get it in the neck from some who had ran the lodge road before and preferred it. You can't win, but it was good to hear. Next week....! Finished by running through Lomond Shores, Balloch and Jamestown.
Club night on Thursday brought a pleasant surprise. Father and son Willie and Peter Henderson appeared at the club for the first time. Willie had ran at Dumbarton a few years ago, and Glen Stewart and I had coached Peter at west Dunbartonshire before a long term "injury" put paid to his junior career. Now 20 he is back running and running well.
"Injury" is in inverted commas due to the self-inflicted nature of it. He came to the club one Thursday and announced he wasn't training as he was going skiing on the Friday, a trip to Austria with his school. He arrived back a week or two later in plaster and crutches (as you do) telling everyone he had fallen on the slopes. However the truth came out when we discovered that on arrival at the resort he had gone to his room and seeing the snow outside his balcony promptly jumped off into the snow and broke his leg!
Anyway the session was 6 x 1.1km reps on the mis-shaped square at the Polaroid estate in Bonhill. Full lap rep with jog recovery on one side before starting again. I only did 5 reps having promised not to over-tire myself with a race on Sunday. I'd suffered from the Thursday session previously, when either racing or long run at the weekend had been affected by the effort. Proof that the older you are the harder it is to recover. Each rep within a few seconds of each other with the last the fastest, and feeling relaxed afterwards. Despite telling the group to ensure they took a full slow jog recovery, the first four just kept running, perhaps a little slower and it seemed more of a steady run for them. So much so that as I finished my 5th rep, Peter was about to lap me! A slow jog back to the club brought the mileage up to about 8 miles. I'll ease off the training for the rest of the week before racing on Sunday.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Back in the Groove

Two runs since my last post, 13+ miles on Sunday and 12 last night.
Sunday's run was one of those forced upon me by laziness, having stayed in bed when I could've gotten my arse down to meet JR's group for some company. However my working wife only gets a long lie on Sunday and it's nice to have a bit of company so I stayed with her. Only to keep her company mind..... ;-)
So it was a solo run a bit later in the day and I headed down to Helensburgh on the main rd then up to the top of Sinclair Street and beyond before turning back. On getting to the Fruin road end I saw a sign for an off road footpath back to Craigendoran and followed that, cutting some distance from the return journey but getting the bonus of some muddy paths. Not a great run though, pacing difficult with the hills taking their toll.
Rest day Monday with a home circuit training session to allow a bit of muscle work and stretching, then down to the club on Tuesday for a steady 12 miles. Had a lot of water to drink as I was showing some signs of dehydration and, despite a visit in the changing area, soon after starting I felt the urge to go again. I ran ahead of the group to get to MacDonalds at Balloch then ran hard until the top of the Cameron Hill on the Luss Road to catch them again. That was the hardest work of the night although I put another effort in up the same hill on the way back. The run was out and back through the Carrick golf course to the Colquhoun gates, following a rough footpath at the end of the timeshare area. It was dark by this time so a bit hard to see as no-one had a headtorch, but reminiscent of the West Highland Way race last year where, when supporting Jim and in the company of quite a few others, we were doing fine by moonlight until Sean walked back from Kingshouse and met us with his torch on, effectively blinding us. The biggest problem with this run is on the cycle path near Loch Lomond Castle where the car headlights blind you and makes it impossible to see the path. Anyway, it was fairly steady back to the club although we added a loop round the Lomond Shores as Mr Garmin was warning us we were short of 12 miles by a simple out and back. At the end of the run, Steph and I ran along Middleton St whilst Ger, Jimmy and Ian went along the Main St, all arriving together. My Garmin told me i had about .05 of a mile to do so ran round to the car park whilst the other stopped just before the centre, but I didn't see them again as I met two of Jim's group in the car park so stopped for a blether. By the time I walked back the others had gone. Sorry! Pretty stiff this morning so I've left my run to this afternoon with JogScotland tonight to build some more miles at an easy pace. Race this Sunday at Alloa so if I get the miles in early this week I can ahave a day off on Saturday to rest up. I've never run Alloa as I normally run the Balloch to Clydebank, so it's something to look forward to.Hopefully it'll give me an idea of my fitness although I'm feeling pretty good and free of previous injury.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Racing Coos

Back running again this week although little to blog about. Achilles Tendon responded well to some self massage, RICE, and some damn good stretches sent to me by Billy the Shoe I will also be using the more advanced exercises in future to strengthen the tendons. They can be found here.
After an easy run on Tuesday, when I skived off the club group after a couple of miles, as they were heading for them thar hills and I just wanted to run without risking injury, I had the unexpected bonus of bumping into Debbie, out without Cairn and having a nice easy run. That made two of us and I spent just over a couple of miles in her company. JogScotland on Wednesday, and another couple of runs both off road has well and truly tested the suspect tendon and my calfs are fine too.
I used the experience to do some nosing about some new routes and met a couple of new friends as a result. Funnily enough they are mothers too and had their off spring with them as I tried to pass them on my ascent of the Kipperoch Road from Cardross. The farmers had been out in their company cars and the going underfoot was reminiscent of the farm at Crianlarich with which all WHW runners will be familiar. Suddenly I was face to face with the two mothers and their calves, on a narrow section of road and no passing places. Fortunately the mums were in training for the bovine WHW and set off ahead of me, although I left one of the calfs trailing in my wake. Then one of the mothers tail's raised as if by magic. Sidestepping like Mike Blair round an Irishman, I just managed to avoid an unwelcome spray of the stuff we think of as a good country smell. They soon decided I was too fast for them and they ran off into a field. I made the descent towards the Renton Road but, about 25 yards before it, turned sharp right on a track marked Hawthornhill 1k. That should have taken me behind Castlehill, a wild west outpost in Dumbarton that I used to patrol as a Dumbarton beat cop. Never used this path though, and as the track split giving me a choice, and taking probably the wrong option (me?) soon found myself running out of path and into waterlogged fields. The other path might have taken me through the Knowetop Community Farm and would have been a slightly longer option to the route I took. It would have been drier anyway. The path should have come down behind some houses and onto a known right of way, but unfortunately the cooncil signs about dumping had been ignored and the local alkies had turned it into a glass strewn deathtrap, so I used some stairs and paths down through the houses and back to the village by road. A really strong wind gusting to over 50 mph made it a slow turn back to Cardross slowing me to a stop on two occasions. I'll bet the guys and gals doing the Glasgow to Edinburgh double marathon will set some cracking times given that breeze at their back.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Marshall Spectator

To Balloch for the 1/2 marathon this morning. Not a nice day for it either, with torrential hailstones on the Carman Moor on the way over. Nice to see so many runners, the race being full two weeks or so ago. hence my lack of entry, but as I am currently resting, I'm glad I saved the money. My marshaling point was on the Renton Rd, at the Clenny Dept Recycling Centre, a busy place on a Dumbarton Sunday morning. I took the camera and was fortunate enough to be able to take some photos between watching over my runners and drivers, and keeping them apart!
Following the passing of the Last Runner Steward, I gave one of the other marshalls a lift to Clydebank where his girlfriend was assisting with the goody bags. He was Stewart, who is into Mountain Marathons although not into racing so doesn't do much in the way of road running. Tried to talk him into some "Flinging" but I don't think the charms of Conic Hill were what turns him on. Anyway on ariving I was able to take a few more photos. All I can say is that I am glad I don't work with the old 35mm or my film expenses would be horrendous. Spoke to Marco afterwards who was disappointed with his 78 minutes for the distance. Two minutes slower than last year, but last year he hadn't preceded it with a 31 mile trot on the WHW! I did comment that he was moving faster last week when he passed me. He agreed, but this time I was standing still when he passed rather than trying to stay ahead of him.
Photos from the race here and here

Saturday, 7 March 2009

I've got my feet up.

Unfortunately they are on cushions with an ice pack over my right achilles tendon which is puffed like an adder. And I'm on anti-inflammatory pills. The tightness I've been feeling has developed into something a bit more alarming although, conversely, I am feeling less stiffness - but there are some wee stings not unlike getting a jag. Hopefully it is just an instance where the sub-conscious brain has taken over from the runner's brain to protect me from myself. So no running for a few days although I'll still be on duty at the Balloch to Clydebank and if duty permits I'll get the camera out for some pics. At worst I'll jump in the car and get to the finish or nearby for some action shots.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

It Snowed!

Knowing how disappointed I was with the lack of snow, I woke to white grass this morning,but with aching calfs and achilles tendon despite all sorts of remedial work over the past couple of days. Last night I had my usual group out for 70 minutes last night and they managed about 6 and a 1/2 miles at a good steady pace. One of the girls, who had struggled last week, described herself as feeling "F*****g fantastic" last night. That cheered me up. This group are a delight to work with. All moans to start with but once running are fine. They are very supportive of each other and looking forward to some target races in the spring. Three of them have entered the Grangemouth 10k later this month. The others are looking at the Womens 10k or Race for Life 5ks. They are well ahead of their target training and will surprise themselves come race day!
Only three in the group tonight, snow gone, as JR took his group for hill reps at the hill from the roundabout to the railway bridge on Main St, Alexandria. Jimmy Mack and I were happy to have an easy run round the Vale 10k route, extended a wee bit to 6.5 miles. Richard came with us and we dawdled round in just over 59 minutes, although it felt faster due to tired legs. A quick shower and into the cafe area for a quick word with the girls who were having a meeting about their relay teams for the Fling. When I left Ali was describing the Loch Lomondside leg of the relay. I'm sure they'll enjoy it!
Jim Robertson brought some old club memorabilia with him tonight and I borrowed a booklet dated 1975 that is a history of the Vale of Leven AC. I have had a quick perusal and there are some interesting articles. I asked Jim if I could copy it as there is mention of Lachie Stewart who ran with the Vale prior to joining Shettleston. It is my intention to give the copy to Glen to pass on, although if I know Lachie, he'll have his copy somewhere! Some good reading and some of the problems in running in 2009 seem to have been about for a bit longer than we think!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Splish Splash

Despite the BBC weather report trying it's best to tell us it was snowing, the nearest it came was some sleet on the way home from training. Otherwise it was business as usual, wet, heavy rain. Club run scheduled for 12 miles tonight but this time avoiding hills to allow some recovery after the WHW training run on Sunday.About 8 of us set off on the 12 miler with JR taking his squad on a shorter run. (Nice to welcome two more JogScotland ladies to the club including my porrige eating pal Helen.)
So we set off towards Renton, across the footbridge and through the industrial estate and out to Dumbarton where we ran the traditional "Round the Horn" circuit. Brian and I were, as usual, out in front and as we started to reach the point where we headed back to the Vale, realised that we would have to do some creative thinking to get the 12 miles in. So we started a second loop, running back down to the Central station and back along the Renton Rd, rather than returning via the outward journey. That aded a mile or just over to the run finishing 11.4 miles in 1hr 46. The run along the Renton Rd was very much waterlogged, not good news for those running the Balloch to Clydebank 1/2 marathon on Sunday. I missed my entry as the race list closed at 500 entries so it's stewarding duty for me. I'll be at the bottom of the A82 off ramp on Renton Rd about 3 and a 1/2 miles into the race.

Monday, 2 March 2009

TheBrown Stuff Hits More Than The Fan

Taking my lead from the advice given to John Kynaston by his Hampden Sports Injury Clinic assessor, I decided that, since I was hirpling about the house like an older man, I would try some cross training to ease the tightness in my legs. Off to the Meadow Centre where I started with some cycling (easy setting) and after 10 minutes doing 30 second bursts with one minute recovery. Only on the bike for 20 minutes as I intended getting into the pool with time tight as my son was working in the sports hall and finished at 5. As always he was looking for a lift home and, as always was in a hurry. Got my swim shorts on and went to hand my locker key in to be told that the pool had just been closed as someone had done a number 2 in it! I was allowed in to the sauna, and after 10 minutes, showered and was ready for my taxi duties.
I must say though, the visit to the gym did wonders for my muscles and I feel ready for a run tomorrow. I will be avoiding the hills until later in the week though!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

You can do it without back-up

Especially when it's Debs and Cairn who are your back up! Of that more later.

It's been a bad week, Jogscotland on Wednesday 5.5miles and then Thursday's aborted reps. Probably too much good running, after Saturday's 24 miler, led to really sore knees on Wednesday so although I enjoyed Wednesday's JogScotland due to the efforts of the group, I really felt my knees and started icing them on my return home. On Thursday, I walked a bit but wasn't happy with what my knees were telling me. Common sense says don't run but Thursday is a club WHW training night and I went along hoping it was one of those "don't make a drama out of a crisis" moments. Jogged out to Balloch Park, fine. Started the reps which should have been 6 x 800m hill reps on the long climb from the main gate. Fine at the start whilst climbing gradually, but as soon as we hit a downhill, and it's only a wee drop that I wouldn't notice normally, I got shooting pains through the kneecap and stopped immediately. Jogged back to where JR's group were doing their hills and spoke to Linda who looks after my aging limbs. Agreed with my suspicions that the quads were gubbed and just to prove it, ran a single uphill stride on a steep Vale street. Fine. Walked down. Sore. Quads! Jogged back to club which made about 5 miles slow running. And pondered on the running done over the past week. I was asking for it. 24 miles on trail, Quad busting descent early on a run on Monday and running on a hilly 12 miler with a bit too much enthusiasm = danger of injury. Rested up Friday and Saturday using ice treatment and heat on Saturday before starting with clubmates Geraldine, Jimmy and Ian and Rab and Mark (and Molly his dog) at 0830 on Sunday for the 31 miles from Inverarnan to Kingshouse.
That gave us an hours start over the scheduled starting time of the rest of the group. We set off steadily before Rab and I headed off into the Ewich Forest ahead of the others. We immediately went into walking the uphills mode and it seemed to suit us all. Very muddy in places although I thought the area around the farm before Ewich wasn't quite as bad as last week! Still shitty though! Nice running in the Ewich area before the run to Auchtertyre where I started to get my mental state messed with..... by a back-up As we approached what will be the checkpoint on WHW race day I was startled by a loud blast on a car horn. Debs and Cairn, boy that kid has a heavy hand on the horn. A rebuke from Debs for wearing too much. She thought the sweat I was leaking was indicative of over heating and suggested I was training for the Marathon de Sables. I have news for Debbie. Sweat is not an indicator of fitness or over-heating! I break out in a sweat if I walk past a kebab shop and all I was wearing was a Helly Hansen long sleeve shirt and my trusty Montane Venture EVent jacket that does exactly as it says on the tin. It's freezing under it. Debbie asked me to divest myself of my very light load, but I declined feeling really comfortable.
On reaching Tyndrum in 2hrs 50, there she was again. Which meant that Marco must be through Auchtertyre! Or Debs was stalking me. "Yep. He's coming after you." Then, "Why don't you give me your stuff. I'll see you at all the checkpoints." So I gave her a bottle of diluted Ribena. And never saw her again. Until Kingshouse where she greeted me with "I hope you didn't get de-hydrated!!!" Anyway Marco, running light... shouldn't be allowed, flashed past midway to Bridge of Orchy. He ran the 31 in about 4.45 and was well into his beer when I arrived.
Into Bridge of Orchy at 4 hours and a few minutes and Rab dropped back as he had planned to eat here. Mark and Molly came past at this point, having caught us before Tyndrum and stopping for some food for Molly. We walked the uphill out of B of O, Molly suddenly appearing beside me when I had a snack, shared it, then buggered off back to Mark when she realised it was finished. They soon disappeared into the distance at Inveroran and shortly after this Thomas came flying past, followed by a few others including Neal and Harvey (another dog)which means at least three contenders for the Fling dog race. By this time I was struggling on the uphills over Rannoch Moor, being encouraged by Neal telling me how much he hated it!
The arrival of sleet and snow on the Rannoch Moor summit confirmed that my decision not to divest my clothing at Debbies command was a good idea. It was bloody freezing! However, the sight of Kingshouse as I crested the ridge was terrific, although I soon realised it was further away than it looked! Not helped by the old fellow who asked if I shouldn't be running! Although passed by Aileen and John in the last few hundred yards my finishing time of 6.46 was good enough for me! I got in just ahead of the posse, justifying the hour start. A quick change in the pub toilet before grabbing a lift from John and Aileen back to the Drovers car park. And home in time for a nice tea with my son's new girlfriend, Hazel.